Route 2 - Develop Documents - Exclusion, Selection and Award Overview

All exclusion, selection and award criteria must be relevant and proportionate to the subject matter of the contract.  Procurement Officers should set out the specific requirements, the relevant exclusion grounds and the minimum selection criteria that are relevant for the procurement exercise in the Contract Notice or the online ESPD (Scotland) Module in Public Contracts Scotland if used.  

Statutory Guidance has been published on Selection of Tenderers and Award of Contracts.

The distinction between selection and award criteria is crucially important. Selection criteria are focused on "the bidder" and award criteria are focused on "the bid”. The Procurement Officer must maintain a clear distinction between both throughout the procurement process. This means that issues/questions which are appropriate to the selection criteria must be addressed at the selection stage and cannot form part of the award stage (even if they were omitted from the selection stage in error) and vice versa.

[For Care and Support Services, consider the involvement of people who use services and their carers in developing any criteria, preparing questions for use in interviews with potential service providers, and the natura and level of support they will require. An organisation must determine at the planning stage what criteria it will use to select potential suppliers, and what criteria it will use to evaluate tenderer. The mandatory exclusion ground must be applied and an organisation may also choose to apply discretionary exclusion ground, selection criteria and award criteria.]

Example areas that are commonly known as "selection" and "award" criteria are listed in the table below:

Selection Criteria

Award Criteria

Business probity


Technical and professional qualifications, capability including experience


Economic and financial standing

(Further examples provided below)

Although the selection and award criteria must be developed and managed quite separately, it is possible for you to conduct these stages simultaneously or in any order where the procedure allows.  For instance, when using a two stage procedure it may be desirable to assess the award stage prior to checking minimum selection criteria are met when only a small number of bids have been received.

By applying exclusion grounds and developing relevant and proportionate selection and award criteria you can ensure the successful bidders are well placed to deliver best value for the Scottish public sector.

There are clear stages in the procurement process:

Exclusion grounds - There are circumstances in which a bidder must be excluded from the procurement process, and there are other circumstances in which you may determine on a case by case basis whether a bidder should be excluded.  These are referred to as mandatory and discretionary exclusion grounds, respectively.

[In the case of Care and Support Services the mandatory exclusion grounds (regulation 8(1) of the Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016) must be applied to all procurements, and you can also choose to apply the discretionary exclusion grounds.]

If you decide to use the online ESPD (Scotland) Module on PCS, the exclusion grounds statements will be built into the online ESPD (Scotland).

Selection criteria - There are also different criteria which are used to determine the suitability of bidders to perform the contract.  These are referred to as selection criteria.  These criteria consider a bidder’s suitability to pursue a professional activity, economic and financial standing and technical and professional ability and must be relevant to the contract.

[In the case of Care and Support Services the provisions in Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016 in respect of selection criteria do not apply. However, you may choose to use the ESPD (Scotland) for this purpose without amending the questions, and it is a matter of best practice to do so.]

Award criteria - are used to determine which bidder is best placed to deliver and which should be awarded the contract.  You have the discretion to determine what award criteria to apply in relation to your specific procurement exercise.  In all cases award criteria must be proportionate, and should relate to the goods or services to be provided.

Evaluation criteria - and Evaluation matrix may assist you in evaluation if you are not using PCS-T. More information on evaluation criteria can be found on the Award Criteria station.

[For Care and Support Services an organisation may take account of some other issues when procuring services including:

  • the quality of the service;

  • the continuity of the service;

  • the affordability of the service;

  • the availability and comprehensiveness of the service;

  • the accessibility of the service;

  • the needs of different types of service users;

  • the involvement of service users; and

  • innovation.

This is not an exhaustive list and there may be other considerations that an organisation may also take account of and which are relevant on a case-by-case basis.]

Exclusion grounds, selection and award criteria must be clearly defined in the call for competition and/or procurement documents, to ensure a common understanding of the requirements by all bidders, and must not be changed or waived during the procurement process e.g. the Contract Notice and the call for competition should contain a list and brief description of criteria regarding the personal situation of bidders that may lead to their exclusion, and minimum and specific requirements detailed.

[For Care and Support Services ONLY: please read the Guidance on Contract Renewal and Direct Award without Competition.]

Reserved Contracts

Suppliers whose main aim is the social and professional integration of disabled or disadvantaged persons, where at least 30% of their employees are disabled or disadvantaged workers are classed as Supported Businesses.  It is possible for your Organisation to “reserve” competition to these supported businesses where it is assessed as appropriate. 

Group Bids

Groups of suppliers can act together to bid and do not need to take a particular legal form to do so.

Organisations can set contract conditions which are specific to a group bid and can explicitly state requirements regarding group economic and financial standing or the criteria relating to technical and professional ability.  However such conditions must be justified by objective reasons and be proportionate to the contract.  Depending on the extent to which particular suppliers will be relied on to perform the contract, organisations may require particular members of the group to meet all or some of the particular selection criteria.

The Organisation may request the group to take a legal form if required for the performance of the contract if the group is to be awarded the contract.


Any documents you need are listed below:

Evaluation Matrix (file type: xlsm)

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